Memoirs of Loelia, Duchess of Westminster
w/ a foreword by Noel Coward
Reynal & Company
8 3/4" x 5 3/4"
The frame to the lettering on this jacket was designed by the late Rex Whistler as part of a book plate given to the authoress as a wedding present
Leolia, Duchess of Westminster's memoirs of life as a Bright Young Thing. Leolia begins by writing about her childhood, describing with saddening detail the remoteness of her parents and the tyranny of her nannies. She came out at the end of the First World War and was launched into a round of debutante parties, balls and dances. As the roaring twenties took hold Loelia became one of the original bright young people. She details their exploits including the fancy dress parties, the night club visits and the treasure hunts. She also credits herself as the instigator of the infamous bottle parties; being short of funds she asked her friends to "bring a bottle" to a party she was organising. The fun of the 1920s clouds over when she marries Bendor Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster in 1930. At first charming he quickly becomes a tyrannical, jealous husband. Leolia is searingly honest about her relationship with Bendor and the memoirs end with their inevitable separation five years later. The whole is an absorbing and truthful contemporary account of the inter-War years.
Loelia Mary, Lady Lindsay of Dowhill, née Ponsonby (6 February 1902 – 1 November 1993), was a British peeress, needlewoman and magazine editor.
Family and first marriage
Lindsay was the only daughter of the courtier Sir Frederick Ponsonby, later 1st Baron Sysonby, and Victoria Lily (Kennard), Lady Sysonby, the well-known cookbook author. She spent her early years at St James's Palace, Park House at Sandringham, and Birkhall. One of the Bright Young People, she met the twice-divorced Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster. They were married on 20 February 1930 in a blaze of publicity, with Winston Churchill as the best man, but were unable to have children. Her marriage to the enormously wealthy peer failed, and was described by James Lees-Milne as "a definition of unadulterated hell". It was dissolved in 1947 after years of separation.
Life after divorce
After her divorce, Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, established herself as a skillful hostess at Send, Surrey, occupying herself with needlework and gardening, passions she had inherited from her mother. Her needlework collection was bequeathed to the National Trust. During the 1950s she worked as a feature editor for House & Garden magazine, and covered the wedding of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly.
Lindsay is believed to have popularised the aphorism (falsely attributed to Margaret Thatcher): "Anybody seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life", which appears to have been coined by poet Brian Howard.
Lindsay's second marriage, to the divorced explorer Sir Martin Lindsay, 1st Baronet, came as a surprise to her friends but was much more successful. The couple were married on 1 August 1969. Sir Martin, a devoted husband, died in 1981, and Lady Lindsay chose to spend her last years in nursing homes. Her memoirs, written in 1961 and titled Grace and Favour: The Memoirs of Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, are a significant record of aristocratic life between the First and Second World Wars.